Name: Jeffrey Korn
LinkedIn URL: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffreyrobertkorn
Executive Network Member Since (Year): 2017
Newly-Landed Position & Company: Sr. Director of Product, Synacor
Prior to landing your new position, were you currently working or in-transition? I was primarily in transition most of the time since I was laid off from my last role. However, I did do some non-profit and pro-bono work for some start-up companies for most of 2017.
How did you get connected to the company where you landed your new role? I worked with AT&T as a vendor in my last company. One of my AT&T client contacts who had become a friend over many years of working with him mentioned to me that there was an open role at Synacor, the company where I landed.
In your estimation, what allowed you to stand-out during the interview process? I think some previous informal conversations with Synacor and my longstanding relationship with AT&T helped to differentiate me for this role. Knowing how AT&T operates and what their core values were from hands on work also contributed to me standing out in the process. However, interviews were not always easy. I believe I counted about 18 one-hour sessions, including a session with the CEO and a number of C-level staff, multiple trips to the LA office for onsite interviews, and a trip to headquarters in Buffalo for onsite interviews. In addition, I had a number of calls with the internal recruiter, some self-initiated, which showed that I was both interested and more importantly persistent, and that I could develop a rapport with the company’s staff even prior to being hired. During interviews, I used the interview technique of explaining what my value was to the company through stories that targeted situations or challenges, actions and results. This technique helped with communicating what I could do for my new company in the future as opposed to what I had done purely for previous employers in the past. I practiced interviewing through mock sessions with friends and coaches, at networking sessions (basic public speaking in sessions), and through actual interviews. This process helped to teach me what worked and did not work, and how to handle the fear of failure inherent in the process.
Did you encounter any challenges while being vetted for this new position? If so, how did you overcome them? A lot of the challenges with the vetting for this particular role related to applying psychological strategies and tested tactics, as the interview process unfolded. How could I maintain a reasonable amount of contact with the internal recruiter to show interest, but at the same time not overwhelm her. The fortunate situation of having a second offer from another company also occurred, which posed another challenge. If I had not respected both companies in the process, I risked losing both opportunities. In addition, the negotiation of the hiring package also took some effort but went smoother than I anticipated. I overcame these challenges by following a schedule, which I organized in the simplest way possible. I prepared a Google sheet that tracked opportunities with status fields, and metrics related to the opportunities. I also tracked other pertinent information about networking contacts, interview questions, and other relevant data. I would then follow up with hiring managers and recruiters based on a logical timing, treating the process like a job, which is what it really is. No one likes rejection, but it is much better to initiate contact with hiring staff, than to wait, risking losing the opportunity, or worse being in limbo. Recruiters, hiring managers and others at your target company may have even moved on to hiring and on boarding another candidate unbeknownst to you because even for good recruiters it is hard to deliver bad news to candidates who are not selected. This higher contact process, which is more phone call (or equivalent) based, and reduces the chance of a “bake off” (multiple candidates funneled into a single hiring timeline to be compared and contrasted by the hiring team at the company at the end of a hiring process).
If you could give an in-transition executive any piece of advice, what would it be? I would suggest getting help from a coach, from friends, or from former colleagues and clients. Being full time in a job search, especially after a layoff, is like being cast out on an island, and you need to remind people that you are still on the island, but in logical ways. Building your network is also part of this process. If you build your network in the right way and maintain it, there will be a strategy for one or two jobs down the line, not just the next job. Since starting my new role, I know already that I am going to struggle with balancing work, family, friends and a social agenda, and still maintain my networking activities. However, networking is really essential in any job search, especially at the executive level where relationships can fast forward a job search and help get you ahead of the sea of Internet applications, and internally referred candidates.
The other piece of advice I would give is to prepare for a job search like a “marathon”, not like a “sprint”. The job search process has become extremely competitive, which means there are a lot of executives up for limited roles, even in an expanding economy, and especially in technology and other high demand fields. If you look at every role and opportunity as a networking opportunity, and every substantive networking moment as an opportunity, you can develop a pipeline, like in a sales operation. This will help you roll from one opportunity to the next, filtering out ones that do not work for you, and moving forward quickly after you are not selected for other roles. I would say that most job seekers are working two to three times faster, possibly more, than even good hiring organizations. This means that you might very well be interviewing for months for a job; and be contacted months after applying for a role as the recruiting process catches up. Having a pipeline gives you more ‘ready to close’ opportunities sooner. It will likely take a few months to really get the pipeline going properly (with the proper tools and methodologies).
Bonus Question: What events and/or resources offered by the Executive Network have helped enhance your career? I mainly attended McDermott and Bull events, which Emily, Kristin and Mallory helped organize. I enjoyed the McDermott and Bull roundtable sessions and look forward to attending some of the evening networking events that McDermott and Bull offers. More specifically, the moderators for the roundtable events I attended — Roxanne Rapske (San Diego), Chris Lord (Orange County), Victor Dominguez (Orange County) and Christine Perakis (Los Angeles) — were all very helpful in my job search. Roxanne helped me with learning about how to be independent in my search, and about franchise opportunities for the future. She also taught me about true altruism. Chris Lord’s experience starting and selling start-ups was exceptionally useful. Chris’ speeches about owning the job search process, and evaluating it logically was invaluable. Chris and Roxanne also reached into their proverbial rolodex to help connect me with different companies and people as part of my search. I hope I can offer help in return as I continue with my new job. I plan to attend some McDermott and Bull sessions in LA, where my new job is located.